We Are Listening...
Say something like...
"Show me 4health dog food..."

You will be taken automatically to your search results.

Please enable your microphone

Your speech was not recognized

Click the microphone in the search bar to try again, or start typing your search term.

We are Searching now...

Your results will display momentarily!

My TSC Store:
Nearby Stores:
My Tractor Supply store

There are no items in the cart. Start shopping to add items to your cart. There are no items in the cart. Start shopping to add items to your cart. Log in to your TSC Account to see items added to cart previously or from a different device. Log In

 Subtotal:
See price at checkout

    Tractor Supply Company

    Find it in App Store

    Camellia Sinensis and 4 Other Herbs for Tea

    Authored by Jodi Helmer

    Some of the same plants that add color, fragrance and nectar to your garden can also be harvested and used to make handcrafted herbal teas—and all it takes is a little imagination and some boiling water.

    Tea garden

    Growing a tea garden is a great project for both beginning and experienced gardeners. It can be as simple as tending to a few pots of peppermint, lavender, chamomile and lemon balm and steeping a few fresh leaves and flowers in boiling water or as complex as growing camellia sinensis (the tea plant), processing the leaves and combining ingredients to make custom brews.

    Growing herbs for tea

    It’s common to refer to teas made with herbs as herbal teas. The label is correct if the herbal tea also has white, green, black or oolong teas made from the camellia sinensis plant. For example, tea purists would call peppermint green tea an herbal tea because it contains green tea while chamomile tea, made with the flowers of the chamomile plant, would be considered a tisane, not tea, because it’s not made with leaves from the camellia sinensis plant.

    What is a tisane

    Tisanes (pronounced ti-zahn) are made from ingredients such as herbs, flowers, fruits, bark and roots. Tisanes, also called infusions or botanicals, are caffeine-free.

    Many common garden plants can be used in flavorful tisanes.

    Best herbs for making your own tea


    There are several varieties of Echinacea. E. purpurea, also known as purple coneflower, is native to the Eastern United States. The perennial produces flowers with daisy-like purple petals radiating from prominent conical orange centers that bloom from June to August. All parts of the plant—the leaves, flowers and roots—can be dried and used in tea. 

    German chamomile

    Chamomile might be the most popular herbal teas. The self-seeding annual plants grow up to two feet tall and prefer full sun. Harvest the daisy-like flowers of the plant and allow them to dry before using them in a steaming mug of tea. 


    Lavender is an herbaceous perennial that grows in upright clumps. Long shoots of purple flowers bloom atop narrow gray-green leaves. It’s best-suited to full sun, well-drained soil but lavender will tolerate poor soil and drought; it should be aggressively pruned after bloom. The fragrant flowers can be used fresh or dried in teas.


    The fast-growing annual herb has a robust mint flavor and fragrance. It grows well in full sun to part shade with moist soil. Peppermint can grow up to two feet high and two feet wide and is best planted in containers where it won’t take over the entire garden. The fragrant herb can be added to teas fresh or dried.

    Camillia sinensis 

    Tea is made with the leaves of camellia sinensis plant. The evergreen shrub has been cultivated in Southeast Asia for thousands of years and all types of tea—white, green, black and oolong—come from one plant. In the United States, camellia sinensis grows best in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 9; in cooler climates, the plants can be grown in post and overwintered in greenhouses or high tunnels.

    How to grow camellia sinensis

    It's best to plant camellia sinensis in spring or fall. Plants can be sourced from retail or online garden centers; tea can also be grown from seeds or rooted cuttings. The plant grows up to 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide and produces white flowers between October and December. 

    Growing camellia sinensis for tea requires patience: It takes about three years before Camellia sinensis leaves can be harvested. The plant is easy to grow but processing the leaves into teas requires a complex process that can include withering, drying, steaming and rolling the leaves, depending on which type of tea you plan to make.

    Make your own tea

    White tea is the mildest and least processed type of tea made from camellia sinensis leaves. 

    To make white tea:

    1. Pick the soft bud on the tip of each stem in the spring when the buds are still closed
    2. Spread the buds out on a tray and leave them for a few hours until they wither
    3. Place the withered buds in the oven at 120 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, shifting the buds several times.
    4. Add one teaspoon of buds to hot—but not boiling—water and let steep for two to three minutes.

    Tips for making a great cup of tea

    Harvest early. The heat draws out the natural oils that give herbs their flavor so cut herbs first thing in the morning to seal in the flavor. Harvesting herbs before they start to flower keeps the energy in the leaves, which helps preserve their fresh flavors.

    Dry herbs naturally. Dry fresh herbs harvested this summer and sip on garden brews all winter long. Drying herbs is as simple as laying the leaves on a tray in the hot sun until they turn crispy. It’s important to leave herbs out until the leaves are dry enough to crumble; if there is any moisture left in the leaves, they will mold. Once the leaves are dried, store them in a glass jar in a cool, dry place.

    Have fun. Growing the ingredients for tea is all about experimentation. Start growing some of the plants used in your favorite teas, mix flavors and see what happens. Remember to make certain that all ingredients you’re adding to teas are safe to eat! 


    More information to help make your own tea garden

    Container gardening is a great way to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Follow our helpful guide to learn tips and tricks for container gardening for your space.
    Use your herb garden to fill your spice drawer. Learn how to dry herbs and keep them for future use.